About the Department

Welcome to the college’s home for applied social sciences.

We are a small, welcoming community of scholars and friends united by our passion for preparing the next generation of teachers and improving our ability to reach out to communities. The scholarship in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education is related to people, society, and economic systems grounded in theory and methods from the social, behavioral, and economic sciences. Faculty and students develop and employ rigorous approaches to discover fundamental and applied principles that advance science in their core disciplines. The department strives to improve the health, prosperity, and welfare of people in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and beyond. Our core disciplines for teaching and research are:

  • Agricultural and Food Systems — focuses on the interconnections between producers, distributors, regulators, and consumers in a variety of issues related to food choices, markets, pollution, and health
  • Community Development and Engagement — focuses on community resilience through civic engagement, leadership, and entrepreneurship to support sustainable communities and regional economies
  • Environment and Natural Resources — addresses the human impact on fundamental natural assets, such as land, water, and air, and tackling the challenges that growing populations create for economic efficiency, social equity, and environmental sustainability
  • Population Processes in Global Perspective —enhancing scholarship on migration and immigration, health, and material well-being of individuals and households across the world

The department offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees, with three thematic areas to guide our scholarship. These three themes utilize the respective strengths of each of the three core disciplines while providing an overall collaborative framework for research, scholarship, teaching, and outreach.

The Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology programs and the departmental main office are located in Armsby Building. The faculty of the Agricultural Extension Education program is in Ferguson Building. Come meet our faculty, staff, and students and discover for yourself why we are happy to call the department our home.

Latest News

April 12, 2024

Webinar to address community engagement, equitable development

Communities are sustainable and equitable when residents play a meaningful role in the deliberations, discussions, decision-making and implementation of projects or programs affecting them, according to Penn State Extension educators, who will host a webinar addressing community engagement, capacity building and equitable development.

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April 11, 2024

Ag Science alumna uses her experiences at Penn State to open equine business

After graduating from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in community, environment and development, and minors in international agriculture and anthropology, Gillian Warner opened Warner Equine out of Tadpole Lane Farm in Pennsylvania Furnace in 2022.

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April 11, 2024

Immersion experience offers lessons for aspiring agriscience teachers

Sarah Beaver could have opted for a beach getaway for spring break. Instead, the first-year student in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences dedicated her time to imparting lessons on global citizenship to high school students in Houston, Texas.  

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March 28, 2024

Innovation linked to international exports for both rural and urban firms

U.S. companies actively engaged in creating innovative products or processes are more likely to expand into international markets, according to a new study led by Penn State researchers. The findings, which apply to both rural and urban companies, could inform efforts aimed at boosting U.S. exports.

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Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education


Armsby Building
University Park, PA 16802